Ralph
Our first and oldest cockerel with Jean-Pierre our youngest Auracana cockerel

10 years ago I decided to study horticulture, I had a garden full of shrubs and roses with few apple tree and two pears some used as prop for climbing roses to grow on. At first my interest in the garden was purely flowers  and shrubs.

When reading the introduction to the correspondence course, vegetable gardening was mentioned and I thought, no I do not want to grow vegetable. As I got on with the course I found it very interesting and before long I was seeking the advise  of garden organic and became a member. I was hooked on vegetable gardening and realised my garden soil was very poor no vegetable would grow in it with out some encouragement, it has acidic soil that grew lovely rhododendron and climbing roses even the apple trees struggled.

This website is named Poultry Soil Permaculture because the chicken was brought into the mix to produce manure, to fertilise the soil. I had a compost heap but I needed something more to enrich the soil. So Ralf my oldest and first cockerel was introduced to 4 hens I had bought, they were beautiful and started laying after 2 weeks. I suddenly realised that keeping chicken with out a cover is a muddy smelly business so I erected a Poly tunnel cover over them, they still smelled quite a bit but less mudy but I had manure.

The other cockerel is Jean Pierre he is an Aurecana, the hen sitting down in the other run is my oldest hen she is an auracana to she is 5 years old and still lays lovely blue eggs.

The next important word is soil, ever since I have started keeping chicken I have never looked back I mix my own soil for growing tomatoes mostly and othe vegetables.

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Just before I completed the horticulture course, I discovered permaculture, it took me 3 months of reseach, I bought books and watched videos then I came across Geoff Lawton and Greeening the Desert. I watched this video several times and all his other videos this made me want to study permaculture. I started buying fruit trees and shrubs with a view to  starting a fruit forest in 2015 I enroled with one of his permaculture design course this course is hosted in Australia it was done over the internet. Once completed I was lost I had so much knowledge but did not know where to start I would walk up and down the garden. I did not have a cllue where to begin.

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This is the bottom of my garden it is covered by a canopy of 12 oak trees. I love walking around there, there’s a lot to see. On the left is a tall bamboo that I have to  keep under controle as they spread under ground and take over. In the centre is where mos of the bulbs grow,  first snow drops appear just after christmas which is a sign that spring is in the air. This picture is of mid spring when all  the crocuses, miniture narcisi, dog tooth violet and the bright green foliage in the middle distance autumn crocuses that flowers later. Mid spring they start to vanish the larger dafodiles appear with the pale flowering dog tooth violet, the wild tree anemone starts to appear and they carpet the area with white flowers followed by white and pink lilly of the valley and then the blue cillas and blue bells appear and get straggly and die down, finally the ground is covered in a clover like ground cover with their white blooms followed by what I use to think was a very invasive heart shaped leaf ground cover plant. This made me think, the word symbiotic poped to mind and I suddenly realised all these plants co existed and took their turns as the seasons progressed. I suddenly thought I got it I realised what Geoff had been teaching us about the forest being our teacher.

I went on to start my vegetable patch in 2016 although quite small it was very productive with many varieties.2016 photoes (220)It had yellow podded beans green beans, runner beans, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet pea, tomatatoes, dahlia, chives all planted close together over a hugulculture bed with some soil mounded from a silted pond. Geoff had mentioned that soil from a silted pond are very rich in nutrient he was right. And below is the final result in the autumn

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